Why consider building inspections as one of the best drone business ideas for 2020?

We usually stick to more traditional aviation marketing topics, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our clients are considering diversifying their products and services, and adding UAV and drone services to their long-term planning.

Individual clients might be sidelined temporarily, and are concerned about their own career planning – looking for a side hustle or a retirement gig.

And people already working in aviation have a huge advantage since they’re already working within the FAA regulations and understand the vocabulary.

So, we’re working on the best drone business ideas for 2020, today’s session is about one of the more lucrative avenues for a uav or drone business idea.

Transcript – Drone Business Ideas for 2020 – Business Inspections

Paula Williams:

Welcome to this week’s episode. Today we are continuing our series on marketing for drones and UAVs, which is a little mini series within our usual aviation marketing podcast. Right?

John Williams:

Uh huh (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

And we have never really specifically tackled drones and UAVs before because aviation marketing is aviation marketing. Right? But there are some specific questions and thoughts about the best drone business ideas for 2020, for using drones and UAVs that are kind of coming to the forefront right now for a lot of really good reasons, right?

John Williams:

Yes.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams:

And I’m John Williams.

Why Is an Aviation Marketing Company Talking about Drone Business Ideas?

Paula Williams:

And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is …

John Williams:

To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there in aviation world sell more products and services.

Paula Williams:

Absolutely.

John Williams:

That includes drones and UAVs.

Paula Williams:

Yes, absolutely. And you may want to consider when you’re talking about aviation products and services, drones and UAVs as part of your business plan.

A Retirement Plan, Side Hustle, or Warm-Up Plan for a Pilot Career

If you’re looking at your 5 year, 10 year plan, if you’re not considering how drones and UAVs are going to impact what you’re doing now, you really should be. And so part of the reason for this series is because we’re getting questions from existing aviation businesses about how to maybe add a line of business, or a product, or a service having to do with drones and UAVs. And part of this is there are a lot of pilots who are not busy right now, this is April of 2020 that we’re recording this, because of the COVID virus situation. This is not the first or last time that the industry has been impacted or individual pilots have been impacted. Right?

John Williams:

True.

 

Paula Williams:

So, you might want to think about this as part of your career plan either before, during, or after your careers in airline, or charter, or corporate pilot, right?

John Williams:

Most pilots, at least airline types, cargo types, have a couple of weeks off every month.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. So you may have some time to be working on this on the side. You may have some time to earn extra money. You may have some time to be thinking about how this fits into your plans to either fund your future pilot training. Even if you’re in high school you can do some of these ideas, right? So you may have a situation where you may have kids, you may want to be spending more time at home, other things like that. You may just want to have an alternative in case things at your accompany aren’t going your way, right? It’s happened to pilots before.

John Williams:

It has.

A Great Plan B for Airline Pilots, or for Companies that Have the Resources

Paula Williams:

Exactly. So it’s good to have a plan B that improves your bargaining position for anything that you’re doing, right?

John Williams:

Yes.

Paula Williams:

Okay. Cool. All right. So some business ideas for drones and UAVs, and we’re covering these in separate little videos that you might want to look into.

Today we’re talking about building inspections, right?

John Williams:

Good stuff.

Paula Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. So the neat thing about drones for building inspections is that they save a whole lot of time and money for everybody involved, right?

John Williams:

Sure.

What are Construction Companies Looking For in Building Inspections?

Paula Williams:

Yeah. So if you think about a construction company, their job is to build the safest possible building at the lowest possible cost, right? And a lot of the cost comes from sending guys around with tape measures, and cameras and whatever, and having them climb up on roofs, and do crazy things and walk a lot of distance and things like that to visually inspect the things that are going on with a building. And so for some of these commercial buildings it can be pretty big and can involve some pretty complex things like boilers, pressure vessels, towers, other things that are just not easy to inspect as a human being to get yourself into a place where you can see what you need to see, right?

John Williams:

Yep.

Paula Williams:

Okay. So, a lot of these are visual inspections, but there’s also some instruments that you can put on drones that will do other than visual inspection. Thermography, or for some of the pressure inspections there may be some instruments that you can use to make different measurements and things that are really useful to these kinds of things. So the things that construction companies are looking for are reduced cost, savings on temporary structure so they don’t have to build scaffolding, right? Savings on liability insurance, because they’ve got all of the photos and videos saved and they can send those to their insurance company, they can keep those on file. All of those things. Increased safety through increased inspection, so they can inspect at more of the stages of the construction than they could otherwise, right?

John Williams:

Just about any time they want to.

Better Inspections Raise the Value of the Construction Project

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And also, anytime you can do better documentation of an asset increases the value of that asset. So you have one construction company that uses drones and does 10 different inspections during the construction process, you have another construction company that uses human beings to do inspections and they do five or two inspections, which building is going to be worth more? So, obviously this is something that is worth a lot to construction companies and is something that is of a great value, and that’s what you look for in a business idea is something that people really want and need.

John Williams:

And a properly configured drone can actually inspect the inside of a building as well.

Paula Williams:

Right.

John Williams:

Wiring, plumbing.

Paula Williams:

It all depends on size and there’s a lot of different things. One thing you might want to look into if you’re considering this seriously is, what are the inspection standards for the type of building that you’re interested in working with?

Research the Governing Building Inspection Authorities

So you might want to look at the ASME, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, standards. They have a set of standards for inspections, and they don’t care whether those inspections are done with a human being with a camera or a drone with a camera, as long as you see the appropriate stuff, right?

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Another organization is API, American Petroleum Institute. There’s different inspection standards for different industries. Okay. So if this is what you’re interested in, the things that you’re going to be doing would be to contract with construction companies and building inspectors, providing detailed photos and video footage that meets their specifications or that meets the inspection standards for the whatever the governing body is for those inspections. You might want to specialize in your geographic area, which would save you on a lot of travel, or on a particular building type. So if you do just petroleum buildings or just commercial buildings of a certain size or something like that, then you may end up traveling more, but you can charge more for your services as well, right?

John Williams:

Yeah. The videos that you take should be of a higher quality, because not only do you get 30 frames per second, but you can rotate around an object at the same time and get different angles within seconds.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And just imagine, if you’ve got a cell tower or something like that and there are four rivets that are missing or wrong, put in wrong or something like that, that tower would fail an inspection and then they would have to send people up this tower doing the entire inspection over again. If you can see that with a drone, you can tell them exactly what to fix and where to fix it, save them a whole lot of time, and money, and angst and delays, right?

John Williams:

Yeah. Multiple inspections as it’s constructed.

Paula Williams:

Background & Info that Will Help

Exactly. Okay. So, what really helps with this is having a background in construction or building inspection, or if you have a partner that has maybe that background or somebody that you can use as a resource that knows something about that topic. So then you’ve got the aviation side, the drone side, and you’ve got the building inspection side of that set of knowledge. And that’s what really makes it valuable is that connection, right?

John Williams:

Uh huh (affirmative)

 

You’ll Need to Follow the FAA Regulations

Paula Williams:

Okay. Now you can’t just go out and buy a drone and start doing this.

John Williams:

You can go out and buy a drone but you can’t start doing this.

Paula Williams:

Right. Any commercial use of a drone requires an FAA license, and some of these of inspections might require additional credentials.

John Williams:

Actually any drone over 55 pounds, I don’t remember, it’s stated in there requires FAA license to operate.

Paula Williams:

Yeah, the drone is required to be licensed. Any drone over a certain size is required to be licensed.

John Williams:

That’s right.

Paula Williams:

Any operator who is making money is required to be licensed regardless of the size of the drone.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

Right. Okay. So it’s an evolving field, as you can tell. And as we work with clients we can nail down the specifics of what we need to do to make your business profitable, and that’s really what we’re in the business of, right?

John Williams:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay. So having been in the business of aviation marketing for a long time and you having come from an aviation background, presumably, you already know the FAA laws and rules, you already are familiar with a lot of these concerns and things like that. So that gives you an advantage over the guy off the street, right?

John Williams:

One would hope.

How To Ensure your Drone Business Idea will be Successful?

Paula Williams:

One would hope. Okay. So what could possibly go wrong?

John Williams:

This is aviation you’re talking about.

Paula Williams:

This is a perfect business idea. What could go wrong with this? And it is a really good business idea, but there’s a lot that can go wrong with any business. What you don’t want to do is go out and start buying equipment, and getting credentials, and spending a lot of money going to school and things like that before you figure out what exactly is needed? How much are people willing to pay for what you have in mind? Are there competitors that are currently doing what you want to do and how much are they charging? And so on. So what you don’t want to do is find out that you can’t beat what’s currently on the market.

John Williams:

Exactly.

Paula Williams:

The good news is it is not that competitive yet, especially in building inspection. There’s a lot of areas where there isn’t anybody with a drone who’s qualified or able to do a lot of these things.

John Williams:

You probably don’t want to go out and compete with Amazon.

Paula Williams:

No, you don’t want to go out and compete with Amazon. And you don’t want to go out and compete with a company that already has 30 drones, and a bunch of building inspectors, and a bunch of pilots and everything else. You’ll want to look for either a new market or a new angle, if that’s the case.

John Williams:

Right.

Paula Williams:

That doesn’t mean don’t do it, that just means be smart about it, right?

John Williams:

Uh huh (affirmative).

The marketing campaign for a Drone Business Idea

The Marketing Campaign for Drone Building Inspection Services

Paula Williams:

Okay. And the way that you’d be smart about it is, you look at the list, you offer presentation. So who’s going to be buying your service? What are their characteristics? What are their concerns? They want to save money, they want to save time, they want to save headaches, they don’t want to be in court. All of those things that they want, those are all really important to know. What can you offer them that addresses those concerns that they have? And the last part is not the first part. Everybody jumps to this to begin with. How do I get in front of these people and how do I get them to choose me as opposed to any of the other options that they have?

John Williams:

That’s the last piece of the whole thing.

Paula Williams:

Right. You have to have the list and the offer figured out before you want to jump out in front of people.

John Williams:

Otherwise you’re throwing away money and time.

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And putting together this fabulous quarter million dollar website that doesn’t have a good list and offer and is not going to make any money, right?

John Williams:

She actually took that number because we had a previous client years ago that did exactly that.

Paula Williams:

Yeah.

John Williams:

No sales after a year.

Focus on The List and The Offer First

Paula Williams:

Right. And just had not done the homework, and that’s what we really don’t want to happen for you and that’s why we focus on the business.

John Williams:

And by the time they came to us, they were beside themselves, thought they had a bad business idea.

Paula Williams:

Right.

John Williams:

And they didn’t, they had a good one.

Small Changes in your List and Offer Can Make a Big Difference

Paula Williams:

Yeah. It just needed a little bit of an angle tweak. So some of those things are very, very important and little changes can make a big, big difference. So there’s lots of different ways to use a drone to make money. There’s lots of different ways to have a side hustle, or a side business, or to diversify your aviation company or your career as a pilot, right?

John Williams:

Uh huh (affirmative).

Paula Williams:

Okay.

John Williams:

Oh yeah.

Paula Williams:

This series is being brought to you by our marketing lab, which is the best way that we have found to provide this kind of advice on the scale that a small company or a growing company can afford. Everybody’s looking for the best value that they can get for their dollar, but they really want those professional results for their marketing. So we provide professional grade tools, and skills, and networking with other aviation companies that it’s really hard to come by, right?

Brought to you by . . . Our Aviation Marketing Lab!

John Williams:

Well, because of our scale, we’re able to purchase different products and services from larger companies and make it available to anybody that’s in our marketing lab.  Including the best drone business ideas for 2020!

Paula Williams:

Exactly. And the people in the lab are really, really helpful at helping you tweak your ideas so that they will be successful. So thank you for joining us, and we will see you next week for a different idea about marketing for drones and UAVs, right?

John Williams:

Have a great day. See you next time.

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